Sometimes disclosing your hearing loss is not right in the moment. Sometimes I’m tired of telling people. There are many reasons that one might not disclose their hearing loss, including:
There are varying opinions on when to disclose. Many seem to agree that disclosing your hearing loss when you are dating is important. This is a person that you may be spending a lot of time with, and for some, a potential life partner. It’s important that when seeking a partner, you find one who accepts all of you.
Phonak hEARo Catalleya Storm says, “For dating, I let them know at the beginning. I’ve never gone on a date with someone who didn’t know.”
Read more: 7 Tips for Dating with Hearing Loss
With accommodations in schools, many people are quick to disclose as well. This is because school has an immediate and significant impact on grades, future, and career path. Disclosing hearing loss at college and university gives students access to the accommodations they need, and the ability to open doors for the needs of others after them.
Phonak hEARo Danielle Guth says, “I always disclose it in school settings because I receive necessary accommodations for my hearing loss specifically such as captioning and extended time on tests. So it’s not only necessary for me to disclose in this setting but incredibly beneficial to me and the teachers/professors/colleagues so I can get the most out of my education.”
“I always disclose it in school settings because I receive necessary accommodations for my hearing loss.”
There is mixed reaction about disclosing hearing loss in a job interview. Some fear that they will be overlooked, while others simply reserve the topic for when it comes up. It can come up when they don’t hear their interviewer, if they need an accommodation, or if it is relevant in answering a question.
There is also disagreement as to when to disclose while on the job. There are those who want to be treated the same as their hearing peers and choose not to disclose, and there are others who advocate for their needs right away. There’s also a third group that slowly discloses to their co-workers over time.
In everyday social situations, many evaluate on an as need basis. There’s no need to tell everyone. It’s also tiring not only to educate but to put your hearing loss at the top of your mind. When others are out and about, if they are comfortable, they tend to bring it up when an accommodation is needed.
Phonak hEARo PR Hilton says, “If I’m struggling a little, I might ask them to face me or repeat what they’ve said, and I explain that I wear hearing aids. I then bend down an ear and raise one of my hearing aids. The reaction is always a good one, with them being either surprised or shocked. I then get to turn the conversation around to hearing loss and help them understand. Little by little I feel I’m doing my bit for spreading the word.”
These are places where it’s in your interest to disclose for safety. For me personally, these are the doctors/ER, with the police, at airports or swimming/water sports. In those situations I’ll often wear some of my deaf apparel to make the message clear.
If you are afraid of disclosing or feel awkward, these are some tips for overcoming those feelings:
Disclosing your hearing loss is not one size fits all. Everyone has different comfort levels and thoughts. Becoming comfortable with it is a journey.